For the past several years, I've been obsessed with learning about Korean food. After trying at least 30 restaurants, buying every Korean cookbook on the market, and making a pilgrimage to LA's incredible Koreatown
, I still have a lot left to learn, but I do know one thing for sure: the best kimchi you can buy is at First Korean Market (4625 Geary).
The stuff is made fresh in the back of the store, and it couldn't be much simpler: just vegetables, hot pepper, garlic, salt, and salted shrimp. They pretty much always have Napa cabbage (labeled "sliced"), daikon ("radish"), and bachelor radish ("baby radish"), all priced at $4.99 a quart or $7.99 a half gallon. Occasionally they also have other seasonal vegetables, such as cucumbers or spring onions. The store also has a complete selection of Korean groceries and a nice serve-yourself bar of tasty panchan (appetizers / side dishes).
Clockwise from top: cabbage, daikon, bachelor badish.